Increasingly used in the medical world, artificial intelligence can now be used to model human cells in 3D, in order to better understand how they work.
While some giants of technology have understood the value of investing in the areas of scientific research and health, a new player presented last Wednesday a revolutionary software by rethinking the way to treat diseases like cancers or Alzeihmer.
It is between the walls of the Allen Institute, a non-profit scientific research organization based in Seattlen, that the Allen Integrated Cell was born, a free online tool that could significantly advance medical research.
Thanks to artificial intelligence, this software can model in 3D the interior of a cell, having only access to an external image of the latter. Quite simply.
In addition to better understanding what is actually happening inside a diseased cell, the Allen Integrated Cell also helps to see how a healthy cell can degrade. "It helps us 'go back in time'," says Greg Johnson, an Allen Institute scientist at The Verge. "By observing the different stages of this change, we could detect a disease as quickly as possible."
Mark cells to better understand them
How does this software work?
In fact, scientists at the Allen Institute first modified a large panel of human cells by incorporating fluorescent markers on some of their proteins.
Then, they photographed tens of thousands of "tagged" cells, then integrated this data into a program that, thanks to artificial intelligence, can predict the structure of any cell by analyzing only its plasma membrane and its core. Thus, they manage to create 3D models of cellulos.
This method therefore allows not only to have a view of all the components of a cell at the same time and in record time, but also to understand the influence that each of these components have on each other.
This is obviously not the first time that artificial intelligence is put at the service of medicine. A few weeks ago, Google presented a prototype microscope using the tool to visualize cancer cells in real time in a patient. Last November, Microsoft raised the idea of "reprogramming diseased cells" to turn them into healthy cells. Very expensive processes, and especially effective when the disease is already present.
"This program is a completely new and much more effective way to understand cell biology," explains the biological engineer Michael Elowitz in the video presentation of the project. "It can really change the game".